The first five launchers have arrived in Warsaw this Monday from the US

Ukraine put Russia in a bind with 16 HIMARS missile launchers: Poland will receive 500

The Russian invasion of the Ukraine has convinced the Poles of the need to arm themselves at the risk of being attacked next.

HIMARS: this is how works the rocket launcher that is keeping the Russians awake in Ukraine
The 1,000 tanks and other modern weapons that Poland has bought to defend itself against Russia

Historical precedents encourage such precautions. After regaining its independence in 1918, Poland was invaded twice by Soviet Russia in 1919 and in 1939 (on this second occasion, in an alliance between Hitler and Stalin). As if the story wasn't enough, a year ago the Russian Duma expressly threatened Poland with being the next invaded, a threat to which the Polish government has acted accordingly to defend its territory of any Russian aggression.

Last year the most ambitious rearmament program in Polish history, with more than 1,000 K-2 tanks, 366 M1 Abrams tanks, 588 BWP Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles, 341 KTO Rosomak infantry fighting vehicles, 32 F-35A Lightning II stealth fighters, 6 MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries and 96 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, among other materials.

One of the most prominent military purchases made by Poland are 500 M-142 HIMARS missile launchers and more than 9,000 missiles of various types, an export that was approved by the United States three months ago. The more than 9,000 missiles purchased by Poland are GMLRS of three types: Guided MLRS Unitary and Guided MLRS Alternative Warhead (AW), both with a range of 70 km, and Extended-Range (ER), with a range of 150 km.

In addition to the GMLRS, Poland will also receive MGM-140 ATACMS long-range missiles, capable of destroying targets at 300 km. It is the largest missile that HIMARS launchers can fire. Poland has placed two orders for this type of missile: one of 30 units in June 2022 and another 45 in February 2023. Both have already been approved by the United States.

This Monday the first five HIMARS launchers arrived in Poland, which will be assigned to a new Artillery Brigade that will be part of the 16th Pomeranian Mechanized Division. The five launchers arrived from the US at the Polish Air Force Air Transport Base No. 1 in Warsaw. According to the Polish military newspaper Polska Zbrojna, the forecast of the Polish Army is that the launchers will be assigned to a total of 16 mechanized divisions.

Most of the launchers Poland will receive will be mounted on Polish Jelcz trucks (below these lines), instead of the usual American FMTV trucks. You have to remember that the first batch of 16 HIMARS delivered by the US to Ukraine put Russia in serious trouble, being a key piece in the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive last summer. Imagine what it might mean for Russia to have to face 500 Polish HIMARS.

With this historic purchase, Poland will be the world's second largest HIMARS operator, behind United States, which in 2022 operated 430 but ordered 500 new launchers to be delivered by 2028. These weapons, in addition to , will provide Poland with the largest NATO multiple-missile launcher artillery force in Europe. No other European Alliance country has a number of launchers close to that purchased by Poland.


Photos: Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej / PGZ Jelcz.

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